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Hyperbilirubinemia: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

Hyperbilirubinemia is also known as neonatal Hyperbilirubinemia, icterus or jaundice.

How is the treatment done?

Jaundice is a yellowish discoloration of the skin, mucous membranes and of the white of the eyes caused by elevated levels of the chemical bilirubin in the blood. Some degree of hyperbilirubinemia is very common right after birth, especially in premature babies. Treatment of hyperbilirubinemia in the newborn involves exposure of the skin to special lights and removal of serum from the blood and replacing with solutions free of bilirubin.

Jaundice in adults can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, some of which are serious and potentially life-threatening. Any adult who develops jaundice needs to undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation in order to determine its cause. Treatment of conjugated hyperbilirubinemia is dependent on the cause; it may include supportive or curative measures. The level of bilirubin (severity of jaundice) will determine the course of treatment. Tests to determine jaundice include physical exams, a laboratory test of a sample of your baby's blood, and a skin test with a device called a transcutaneous bilirubinometer, which measures the reflection of a special light shone through the skin.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Neonatal Hyperbilirubinemia mostly disappears on its own within two or three weeks. Hyperbilirubinemia treatment depends on many factors, including its cause and the level of bilirubin. The goal is to keep the level of bilirubin from increasing to dangerous levels.

Light Therapy or Phototherapy:

Phototherapy may take several hours to begin working and is used throughout the day and night. Your baby may be placed under special lighting that emits light in the blue-green spectrum. The baby’s eyes must be protected. The light changes the shape and structure of bilirubin molecules in such a way that they can be excreted in the urine and stool. The light isn't an ultraviolet light, and a protective plastic shield filters out any ultraviolet light that may be emitted.

Exchange transfusion:

It is an emergency, life-saving procedure that is done to rapidly decrease bilirubin levels. The transfusion replaces an infant's blood with donated blood in an attempt to quickly lower bilirubin levels. Exchange transfusion may be performed in infants who have not responded to other treatments and who have signs of or are at significant neurologic risk of bilirubin toxicity.

Encourage feeding:

Providing adequate breast milk or formula is an important part of preventing and treating jaundice because it promotes elimination of the yellow pigment in stools and urine. You will know that your infant is getting enough milk or formula if s/he has at least six wet diapers per day, the color of the bowel movements changes from dark green to yellow, and s/he seems satisfied after feeding. In severe cases of jaundice, a blood transfusion or blood exchange may be needed.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Treatment of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia is usually based on the measurements of total serum bilirubin levels. It is generally recommended to start phototherapy at lower levels in low birth weight and very low birth weight infants than in term infants.

Are there any side effects?

Anyone who does not have jaundice cannot seek treatment for the same.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Phototherapy is safe, but it has some temporary side effects like skin allergy and loose stools. This is normal since this is the way the body removes the bilirubin. This will be temporary and should stop when treatment is completed. Contact your doctor if it persists after treatment is completed.

How long does it take to recover?

Infants with elevated bilirubin levels should be treated by a qualified doctor or nurse to safely reduce bilirubin levels and prevent the risk of brain damage. Parents and healthcare providers should not delay treatment for any reason. Take medications which prevent malaria before travelling to high-risk regions. Avoid medications and toxins which can cause hemolysis or directly damage the liver.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Normal cases of hyperbilirubinemia recover in 20 days. In severe cases, depending on the treatment, a person needs minimum of 3 months to recover.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Phototherapy treatment in India, costs around Rs.10000 to Rs.15000.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

The results are permanent. You have to take necessary steps to prevent hyperbilirubinemia, good hygiene and healthy food.

Popular Questions & Answers

Hi. My fnd is 40 years old male, unmarried. Working as a professor .his bilirubin level is 2. He has taken various medications but still his levels are not going below 2 which is quite high. My question is how his bilirubin levels can b brought down below 2. Is there any treatment in homeopathy, allopathy or in ayurvedic. Kindly help.

DNB (General Medicine), MRCP (UK)
Internal Medicine Specialist, Hyderabad
Check whether the test is done in fasting state or not and complete lft report needs to be reviewed. Some times fasting high bilirubin levels occur in few patients with gilbert's syndrome which is congenital. It is not a serious condition. So plea...

Dear doctors, I made "liver function test" it shows normal total bilirubin but but little bit increased level of direct bilirubin. Total bilirubin = 1.2 (0.2 - 1.4) direct= 0.4 (0.0 - 0.25) indirect= 0.8 (0.0 - 75) sgpt=33 (upto 35) sgot= 47 (upto 40) I am non alcoholic person. And I take the medicines for ocd and depression (fuvomaxine 100 and clomipramine 75 and a multivitamin only) kindly give your opinion about my increased level of direct bilirubin with normal level of total bilirubin.

MBBS, Basic Life Support (B.L.S), Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Fellow of Academy of General Education (FAGE)
General Physician, Delhi
As per your report need to know more about your medical condition before putting any answer. Let's connect over a call so that we can discuss your concern in details and make a suitable treatment plan for you.

I am facing gilbert diseases my bilirubin in not normal from last 2 month but sgpt nd sgot is normal.

MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine, MNAMS(Medicine), Fellowship in Cardio-Diabetology, Ealing Hospital and Guy's Hospital, London, Fellow of Indian College of Physicians(FICP)
Internal Medicine Specialist, Delhi
Hello lybrate-user, gilbert disease in caused by deficiency of enzymes in liver which converts bilirubin so it can be easily be excreted from your body. It is recommended to avoid products and medicines which have side effects on liver function.
1 person found this helpful

Can increase indirect bilburin around 2.47 with total and 2.71 is a serious issue with sgpt (11) and sgot (20). I am feeling weak as well with some headache. Please suggest me if something is serious?

MD - General Medicine
Internal Medicine Specialist, Vijayawada
It is not serious as sgot and sgpt are normal but since you are feeling weak and total bilirubin is high its better to get evaluated for your hepatitis viral workup and usg abdomen along with complete blood counts. Also please mention your whole l...
1 person found this helpful

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